DPC facing legal action over GDPR complaint against Catholic Church

Dpc Facing Legal Action Over Gdpr Complaint Against Catholic Church
Martin Meany has brought judicial review proceedings against the DPC over a complaint the Court heard he made in May 2018 about the Roman Catholic Church.
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High court reporters

A man has launched High Court proceedings over what he claims is the Data Protection Commission's failure to complete an investigation of a complaint he made over the Catholic Church's refusal to destroy records it has about him.

Martin Meany has brought judicial review proceedings against the DPC over a complaint the Court heard he made in May 2018 about the Roman Catholic Church.


The Court heard that Mr Meany, from Patrick Street in Dublin 8, was baptised a Catholic in 1988.

He says that he is no longer a Catholic.

In 2018 he wrote to the RC Bishop of Ossory requesting that all personal data it holds about him, including his baptismal records, be deleted or destroyed in accordance with the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

He claims that the Bishop refused to delete or destroy Mr Meany's personal data and maintained that the RC Church was entitled to possess the records on the grounds that it is of "historical and archival" significance.


Arising out of that refusal Mr Meany made a complaint to the Commission.

He claims the Roman Catholic Church continues to possess incorrect information about him, namely that he is a practising Catholic when he is not, is in breach of GDPR.

He further complains that the church is in further breach of GDPR by failing to delete or destroy his personal data when requested and has failed to process accurate up-to-date data about him.

He said that in 2019 the Commission informed him that the investigation of his and other similar complaints were being paused as the DPC wanted to conduct its own statutory inquiry into the Catholic Church.


This he was told was being done to establish whether there was an obligation on that data controller to erase personal data contained in church records when requested.

He said that he has sought updates on that probe but says responses from the DPC was non-committal and generic in nature.

The Commission, he claims, has said it was not possible to give a timeline as to the conclusion of his complaint.

He claims that he is entitled to have the investigation of his complaint completed within a reasonable time, and the four-year delay amounts to a breach of his constitutional right to privacy.


He also claims the failure to complete the investigation is a breach of his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, including his rights to due process and respect fo his private life.

Represented by William McLoughllin BL Mr Meany seeks an order compelling the DPC to complete its investigation of his complaint within a time specified by the High Court.

He also seeks a declaration the alleged failure to complete the investigation into his complaint within a reasonable time or at all was unlawful.

The case was briefly mentioned, on an ex parte basis, before Mr Justice Charles Meenan on Monday.

The judge adjourned the action to a date in December.

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